A suicide attack targeting an Afghan provincial governor killed at least eight people on Monday, officials said, as the president travelled to Qatar where peace talks with the Taliban have stalled.
Twenty eight people were wounded when the attacker rammed his explosives-filled vehicle into the convoy of Rahmatullah Yarmal, the governor of eastern Laghman province.
“The governor was driving to his office when his car was hit. Four of his bodyguards and four civilians were killed, 28 wounded,” the governor’s spokesman Assadullah Daulatzai told AFP, adding that the governor was unhurt.
Interior ministry spokesman Tareq Arian confirmed the attack and said most of the wounded were civilians.
It comes as President Ashraf Ghani on Monday left for Doha to meet with Qatari officials, three weeks after the launch of landmark peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Ghani will first stop in Kuwait to offer condolences over the death of emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, his spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said.
Talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government negotiators, aimed at ending Afghanistan’s 19-year conflict, have stalled over disagreements on how to frame a code of conduct that will guide the broader talks.
The Taliban, who are Sunni hardliners, are insisting on adherence to the Hanafi school of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence, but the government negotiators say this could be used to discriminate against Hazaras, who are predominantly Shia, and other minorities in the country.
Another contentious topic is how the US-Taliban deal will shape a future peace deal and how it will be referred to.
No one has so far claimed responsibility for the Laghman attack, but the Taliban are active in the region.
On Saturday, a suicide bomber detonated a vehicle full of explosives at the entrance an administrative building in eastern Nangarhar province, killing 15 people, mostly civilians, officials said.